*Countdown City* by Ben H. Winters

I just finished Countdown City, the second book in Ben H. Winters’ “The Last Policeman” trilogy. Like the previous installment, it was quite good.

Mysteries are generally not a genre I read much of anymore. However, the premise of these books intrigued when I first heard about them. The main character, Henry Palace, is a police detective in Concord, New Hampshire. The twist is that there is a massive asteroid hurtling toward Earth––everyone knows that the impact will occur within the year, and society is falling apart around Palace. Nonetheless, he goes on solving crimes.

It sounds a bit goofy and contrived, but Winters is a very good writer, and Henry Palace is a great character (albeit a frustrating one, at times). While the details of the mystery at hand serve to move the plot along, the larger story is one of a person trying to find some meaning in the face of the impending collapse of human society.

The third and final installment, World Of Trouble, is out, but I have to admit to feeling a bit of reluctance to read it. I tend to avoid post-apocalyptic stuff these days because, as much as it embarasses me to admit it, the subject matter is just to depressing. If I want to feel like we are all doomed, there are plenty of non-fiction opportunities for that. While these books are, technically pre-apocalyptic, I get the sense that there is not going to be some last-minute reprieve to prevent the asteroid Maia from colliding with the earth. I have grown to like Det. Henry Palace (and his dog Houdini), and I am not sure I really want to read through to what I imagine to be their eventual demise.

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